Recipe: Cooking with less common cuts of Scottish beef and lamb

Less common cuts of Scottish beef and lamb will make hearty dishes for all weathers

For the first two days of the Royal Highland Show I will be celebrating the quality of our Scottish beef, lamb and pork at the Quality Meat Scotland stand. I will highlight the cuts of meat that are not sold as readily as others. Last year I used offal in several recipes.

This year I am using shin of beef, cut across the bone, in a classic Italian dish, Osso Buco, which features a rich tomato sauce. I serve this with Basmati rice containing lemon, garlic and parsley.

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I shall also be demonstrating beef braised with beer, using our Isle of Skye ale, but any of the many wonderful ales made in Scotland would be good for this recipe. And I am allowing myself a fillet of beef, seared and allowed to cool, then thinly sliced and served with a roasted pineapple and coriander relish, for a special occasion during the summer months.


Rare beef salad with roasted pineapple and ginger dressing

This is a special occasion main course dish, or it can be a first course. It's very good served before a fish main course such as salmon en croute.


1 lb/675g fillet or topside of beef

For the dressing:

1 pineapple, roasted whole (see recipe)

2 tablespoons soy sauce

1 tablespoon sesame oil

Juice of a lime – about 1 tablespoon

1 teaspoon runny honey

1 teaspoon finely minced root ginger

1 fat clove of garlic, skinned and very finely chopped or grated

2 tablespoons chopped coriander

A pinch of dried chillis

Roast the whole pineapple in a hot oven, 220C/450F/Gas Mark 7, for 30 minutes, then allow to cool. When cold, slice off the skin and cut the flesh in half, then in quarters. Slice away the tough core, then dice the remaining flesh. You want about five tablespoons for the dressing – eat any of the remainder. To make the dressing, combine the diced roast pineapple with the other ingredients, mixing well.

Rub the beef all over with grated black pepper and a teaspoon of salt and rub in olive oil. Sear over high heat in a dry pan, then roast in a hot oven, 220C/450F/Gas Mark 7, for ten minutes. Cool, then slice thinly to serve. Spoon the dressing down the centre of the sliced beef.


Beef braised with beer


2 tablespoons flour, sieved with 1 teaspoon salt and about 20 grinds of black pepper

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2lb/900g stewing beef, trimmed of gristle and any excessive fat and cut into even chunks

3 tablespoons olive oil

2 onions, skinned and halved and very thinly sliced

1 fat clove of garlic, skinned and diced finely

pint/285ml stock, beef, or vegetable stock

1 bottle of beer of your choice

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

Put the sieved flour, salt and pepper into a large polythene bag and add the chunks of trimmed beef. Shake the bag vigorously so that each bit of beef is coated in seasoned flour.

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Heat the olive oil in a saut pan and brown the pieces of floured meat thoroughly on all sides, removing them to a warm dish as they are browned – you will need to brown the meat in relays, not too many pieces at one time. Then lower the heat a bit under the pan and fry the thinly sliced onions until they are soft and transparent, about five minutes.

Stir in the diced garlic, then return the browned beef to the pan, shaking in any remaining flour from the bag to take up any olive oil. Stir well and cook for a minute before stirring in the stock, then the beer. Keep stirring until the sauce boils, then stir in the Dijon mustard and cover the pan with its lid. Cook in a moderate oven, 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4, for one hour. Then take the dish from the oven, allow to cool, and when quite cool store in the fridge – like all stews and casseroles, this benefits from being cooked, cooled and reheated, which allows the flavours to develop wonderfully. Take the dish from the fridge and into room temperature for half an hour before putting the pan on the stove top and bringing the contents to a gentle simmer. Then put it into the oven to cook at the same moderate heat as before, for half an hour from simmering.

This is delicious in the summer months with steamed new potatoes, or in winter with mashed potatoes, and with a green vegetable – beans or courgettes in summer, purple sprouting broccoli or kale in winter.


Chilli Lamb

This is one of those dishes where the starch is in the same dish with the meat.

In this case, the kidney beans and spices combine with the lamb to produce a most delicious flavour.


1 level tablespoon flour

2lb/900g lamb, weighed when trimmed and cut into 2.5cm/1in chunks

4 tablespoons olive oil

3 onions, skinned and sliced thinly

teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon cumin seeds, ground using a pestle and mortar

1-2 fat cloves of garlic, skinned and chopped

2 tins of chopped tomatoes, each about 400g

1 pint/570ml stock

teaspoon dried chilli flakes – or more, if you like it hot

Finely grated rind of 1 lemon

1 teaspoon salt and about 20 grinds of black pepper

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2x400g tins of kidney beans, drained in a sieve and rinsed with cold water

2 tablespoons chopped coriander

pint/285ml crme frache

Mix the flour through the chunks of lamb. Heat the olive oil in a large saut pan and, in batches, brown the floured meat on all sides, removing the pieces to a warm dish.

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When all the lamb is browned, lower the heat slightly beneath the pan and fry the thinly sliced onions, stirring from time to time, for about five minutes. They should be completely soft and turning golden brown at the edges. Stir in the ground cinnamon and cumin and cook for a minute before stirring in the diced garlic. Return the browned lamb to the pan, stir in the contents of the tins of tomatoes, the stock, dried chilli, lemon rind, salt and pepper. Stir until the mixture simmers gently, then cover the pan and cook in a moderate oven, 180C/450F/Gas Mark 4, for one hour from simmering. Take the pan out of the oven, stir in the beans, and leave to cool completely. Store in the fridge until half an hour before you are ready to reheat. Reheat on the stove top until simmering, then cook in the same moderate oven as before, for half an hour from simmering.

Just before serving, stir the coriander through the crme frache, and serve a good spoonful on each serving of chilli lamb.

• This article was first published in The Scotsman on 19 June.